Lancashire County Council is proposing to change the way it fixes potholes to ensure the most serious and those on the busiest roads are fixed the quickest.
The council’s cabinet is being asked to agree a revised pothole repair policy which will give priority to roads which are most used.
Work will also be recorded in a new format to ensure performance can be monitored and show how well this revised policy is working.
The policy introduces a new target to fix potholes or other defects which are 15cm or greater in depth, and 30cm wide, within one working day – with 5 day, 10 day and 20 day targets for less serious problems.
The council currently monitors its performance according to a target to repair potholes 4cm or more in depth within 20 working days.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We have inspectors working year-round to check our roads are safe. Our repair gangs fix any defects found from this work as well as responding to reports from the public.
“Safety is always our top priority, and we already aim to respond quickly to serious defects and emergency situations.
“However the way we currently monitor performance does not reflect this risk-based approach, as the target we set ourselves is to repair all potholes within 20 working days. Whilst this is a good thing to achieve, it is also important that we prioritise the most serious defects and busiest roads and the revised policy makes this much clearer.”
Some of the funding which councils receive from the Department for Transport (DfT) is based on how well they’re performing, with only those in the top band eligible to receive 100% of their allocated funding for road maintenance. Lancashire is currently rated in the topmost of three tiers.
The proposal to adopt the new risk-based pothole repair policy aims to ensure the county council monitors its performance to ensure high standards are maintained and the council continues to receive all of the funding allocation.
County Councillor Iddon added: “This more rigorous regime means we’ll be able to better monitor our performance, hold ourselves to account, and ensure we’re directing resources where they’re most needed.
“I’m aware that the wet and freezing weather we’ve been experiencing lately means we have a lot of potholes to repair at the moment, and these conditions can lead to a small crack becoming a potentially dangerous pothole very quickly.
“We’re repairing them as soon as we can, and people will start to notice the difference as the weather improves and fewer potholes are appearing. This revised policy will help to ensure that we’re focused on repairing the worst damage quickly to ensure our roads are safe. Our budget proposal to council next week includes an extra £5m to repair potholes.”
The proposal will be considered at the cabinet meeting on Thursday 1 February.